Treating Varicose Veins: Laser Heat or Radiofrequency?

Treating Varicose Veins: Laser Heat or Radiofrequency?

There was a time when vascular doctors in Orlando, as well as around the country, routinely would treat varicose veins with a now mostly outdated procedure called vein stripping and ligation. There are rare cases in which this procedure still is preferred, though. In this particular type of surgery, the vein surgeon would use a scalpel to cut open the patient’s leg, cut out the affected vein (stripping), and tie off the ends to prevent blood loss (ligation).

And while there are a few holdouts who still perform this procedure on a regular basis, we are ever so fortunate to have our choice of minimally-invasive procedures today.

Innovative, Minimally-Invasive Options Are Available Today

One popular and effective treatment currently favored by vein experts is endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), in which the surgeon, guided by ultrasound visualization to pinpoint the precise locations, uses a needle to insert a tiny tube into the varicose vein.

The tube is used to transmit heat into the vein, causing it to collapse and seal off. The body then harmlessly absorbs the collapsed vein and automatically reroutes the blood through other vessels nearby. Circulation returns to normal, and the patient’s symptoms, which can include pain, itchiness, swelling, ulceration, and discoloring, subside.

Radiofrequency Waves Accomplish the Same Goal

An alternative method employs radiofrequency waves to accomplish the same result, and again, the procedure is relatively simple. Neither treatment requires general anesthesia;  only local anesthesia is used. Both procedures are done right in your doctor’s office on an outpatient basis, with no hospital stay required.

Both minimally-invasive treatment options are innovative, virtually pain-free, and cause little to no downtime. And since varicose veins are a medical condition rather than cosmetic one, and can lead to other serious conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, most medical insurance plans contribute to paying for the cost of treatment.

Another (but also very effective) procedure is sclerotherapy, which uses a chemical instead of heat to achieve the same goal. It has many similar benefits in terms of the simplicity of the procedure and short recovery time.

Deciding When to Seek Treatment from a Vein Specialist

Should you seek treatment for varicose veins? You should if you have any of the symptoms, including the appearance of the bulging, discolored, and twisted varicose veins themselves.

And while anyone can develop varicose veins, certain variables, such as family history, advanced age, pregnancy, or injury, can be contributing factors. You are especially susceptible if you have a profession that requires long periods of sitting or standing.

Finding the Best Treatment in Central Florida

The good news is that if you live in the Central Florida area, you have easy access to one of the most experienced and most knowledgeable vascular doctors in Orlando, John D. Horowitz, MD, FACS. Dr. Horowitz is the founder and head of Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center, where you can schedule a visit to examine your varicose veins and discuss the treatment option that is best for you. Call us today at 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 for more information on the various treatment procedures for varicose veins and superficial (spider) veins; you’ll be glad you did.